Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tobredalen, Svalbard

The Tobredalen valley minutes after the slush flow. This was the big event we had been hoping to witness. Every Spring, as the temperatures increase, the snowpack becomes more and more waterlogged. If the snowpack is on any gradient then the water can flow away. The main Tobredalen valley is very shallow, no more than 1degree, so any excess melt water is unable to drain away. The day before a small pool slightly up valley of this point had burst its banks and melt water had begun to flow into the main valley. At 12:10 the extremely waterlogged snowpack in Tobredalen began to flow down stream, carving out a river channel in the snowpack and depositing huge amount of slush on the banks. Within minutes the valley had gone from ordinary snowpack to huge river- it was very exciting.

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